With the cost of living crisis dominating our lives, tenants are becoming more discerning, scrutinising landlords, agents and rental properties like never before.
It’s not a bad thing – a happy tenant means one likely to stay long term, keep the place clean, tidy and well maintained, and provide fewer problems.
So, what are on tenants’ wish lists and what are on their deal breaker list?
Location, access to good transport links, access to outside spaces, good parking and lots of internal storage are always near or at the top of renters’ requirements. However, these may not be in the gift of the landlord to provide.
What landlords can and should do are matters of safety and security, energy efficiency, well maintained properties, a landlord and/or agent who is sympathetic and easy to deal with. The best place to start is to think like a tenant. What would you want or expect if you were a tenant?
Safety and security
Landlords can and should do all they can to make their tenants feel safe and secure in their properties. This includes the legal obligation of installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and making sure they are inspected and maintained regularly. Other ways could include installing a house alarm, including locks to the windows, checking the maintenance of fences, hedges or walls around the property to make sure there are no gaps and carrying out all necessary electrical safety checks on appliances, boilers and heaters.
Living costs are rising every day and added to eye wateringly high energy bills, tenants are right to be worried about their monthly outgoings. However, landlords can help ease the pressure by ensuring their rentals are as energy efficient as possible. Improvements to help this could include; cavity and loft insulation, installing double or triple glazed windows, getting rid of any draughts, maintenance of radiators, upgrading appliances, using LED lights and installing smart meters for energy and water. The more heat leaches out of a property the more it will cost in energy bills. This will all help improve the EPC ratings of the property which will need to meet a C or above in a few years’ time under government directives.
Clean and well-maintained
If you as a landlord would not want to live somewhere which was badly maintained and dirty, then you can’t expect a tenant to want to either. Thus, getting the rental professionally cleaned from top to bottom is essential. It shows you care about the property and that it’s looked after properly. It also means a tenant knows what to expect and will, hopefully, want to keep it looking that way!
As well as being clean and tidy, a property needs to be well maintained and presented in good condition. Build into the tenancy a clause for quarterly inspections. This allows you to make sure the rental is being kept clean but will show the tenant a commitment to keeping the place in good order. This will include checking for mould, damp, any wear and tear, water ingress, condensation to the windows, the guttering, damage to the roof, chimney stack or other part of the building, and any faulty appliances. It is also good practice as the longer an issue is left, the more costly it is to repair and rectify.
Easy to deal with landlord and/or agent
A good landlord-tenant relationship is essential and one that is often overlooked. In an age where reviews on social media and websites are commonplace, reputations can be made or broken in seconds. Encourage your tenant to leave a positive review but also make sure you repay that when they need a reference for a job or another tenancy somewhere else.
A good relationship can help when things go wrong or when you need to change the tenancy agreement, up the rent, or do maintenance work on the house at a time that may not be the most convenient. It also ensures there is trust and respect which is good for any relationship.